Dunfermline Athletic manager John Hughes has confirmed that Rangers loanee Kai Kennedy wasn’t in his matchday squad to face Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup third round on Friday night because of a request from the Light Blues [The Courier].
Many expected Kennedy to tear it up at East End Park when he headed out on loan in July.
However, things haven’t gone according to plan.
Not only are the Pars 14 points outside the playoff spots following a dismal start to the season, but the 19-year-old Gers loanee also hasn’t been able to nail down a place in the side and is still yet to register a goal or an assist.
Hughes only took over as manager earlier this month after the sacking of Peter Grant, but he hasn’t been starting Kennedy either and knows that unless things change quickly, the young winger will soon be heading back to Ibrox.
“Kai Kennedy didn’t play on Friday is because Rangers didn’t want him cup-tied,” said Hughes [The Courier]. “I can understand that — I’ve got no qualms whatsoever about that.”
“The reason being because he’s not getting enough game-time here. If he’s not getting enough game-time there’s every chance Rangers will take him back at Christmas time.
“So, it’s up to Kai. I’ve spoken to him and it’s up to him to get himself in the team.”
This request was a clear message from Rangers that they aren’t happy with how things have played out so far and are keeping their options open ahead of the second half of the season.
Kennedy made his first-team debut for the Gers in the Scottish Cup two seasons ago and if he is recalled in January, there’ll be no issues with his availability.
New manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has made it clear that he prefers his wingers to hold their width, which could suit the Scotland youth international, but it would be a big jump to go from the bench at Dunfermline to competing for first-team minutes at Ibrox.